Tonight was the Battle of the Knights as the Geneseo Ice Knights (1-1) took on the Neumann (just plain) Knights (3-0). Neumann’s special teams took control of the game early, tallying three power play goals in the first period on the way to a 6-2 victory.
Neumann sophomore Kyle Casey bookended the game scoring both the first and last goals of the contest, both while on the power play. Casey was the only multiple goal scorer on the night, finishing up with two goals and an assist.
The (just plain) Knights went five for thirteen on the power play, which was the difference in the game.
“Our power play is clicking pretty good right now,” said Neumann coach Dennis Williams. “We have five guys on both units that are playing unselfish hockey. They don’t care who scores or gets points, and are moving the puck.”
Neumann controlled even strength play throughout the first period, establishing sustained pressure in the Geneseo zone while the Ice Knights struggled to garner much more than the occasional rush up ice in response.
The pressure paid off for Neumann with a trio of power play goals to take a 3-0 lead by the end of the stanza.
Neumann goaltender Mike Collichio, a Rochester, N.Y., native playing in front of friendly crowd, started the play for the first goal in his own zone by hitting Mark Van Vliet at the far blue line with a long breakout pass. Van Vliet waited for linemate Kyle Casey to enter the zone before feeding him a pass along the blue line. Casey wove around a Geneseo defender then whipped a wrist shot past the glove of Geneseo netminder Greg Richardson for the power play goal at 1:23.
“[Collichio] played awesome,” said Williams. “He has been our No. 1 for two years and is leading us for another two. Performances like that, it is hard not to play him. He has stepped in to be a team leader both on and off the ice for us.”
Neumann scored its second power play goal of the period at 5:31 when Erik Stoyanvich slid in a rebound off a shot from the blue line by Matt Ward.
The third goal came when the [just plain] Knights were skating with a 4-on-3 power play. Neil Trimm and Mike Gooch were playing catch with the puck along the top of the faceoff circles before Trimm put a hard slapshot hard into the upper corner of the net to score at 16:57.
Geneseo was able to garner good pressure during its four power plays of the period, but Collichio made every save. The Ice Knights best scoring opportunity came at 15:58 when Mathieu Cyr caught a long breakout pass at the Neumann blue line and skated in alone. But Collichio smothered Cyr’s shot to end the chance for Geneseo.
Neumann carried over a minute of a 5-on-3 power play in to the second period but were a little sloppy with the puck and Geneseo was able to kill off the penalties. This gave Geneseo a jump in its step, which was enhanced by a sequence of three straight Neumann penalties.
“We’re learning still,” said Williams. “We aren’t used to being up two goals after one period. We are trying to adapt to leading and go further with it.”
The Ice Knights poured on the offense during the almost six straight minutes of power play but were unable to solve Collichio to get on the scoreboard.
Instead, it was Neumann freshman Matt Ward who chipped a rebound past Richardson at 11:51 to extend the [just plain] Knights lead to 4-0.
That was it for Richardson as Geneseo coach Chris Schultz replaced him in net with Derek Jokic. Jokic made two quick saves to put some momentum back on Geneseo’s side of the ledger.
The Ice Knights finally were able to get onto the scoreboard at 17:08 when Mitch Stephens rifled in a slapshot from the left point while Geneseo was on the power play.
The lift Geneseo got from the goal was short lived, however, as penalty trouble late in the period allowed Neumann’s Mike Hedden to score a 5-on-3 power play goal with only five seconds remaining in the period. That gave the [just plain] Knights a commanding 5-1 lead heading into the second intermission.
Unlike in the second period, Geneseo was able to take advantage of penalty trouble early in the third period to narrow the margin on the scoreboard. Sebastian Panetta deflected in a shot from the point by Stephens at 7:14 for the power play goal to make the score 5-2.
Just past the half way mark of the period, Geneseo got in to a little penalty trouble of its own, but Jokic made a flurry of saves to prevent Neumann from sealing the game.
Kyle Casey wristed in his second goal of the game at 17:21 of the third period while Neumann was on a 5-on-3 power play to finish the scoring at 6-2.